Must Read! Learn About TBI: Thankful Blessed Individual

Thankful Blessed Individual: Traumatic Brain Injury, A Beautiful Story

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This post was originally published on 9/3/2019 and updated on 3/9/2020.

Did you know March is Brain Injury Awareness Month? This is a story about suffering a traumatic brain injury. #ChangeYourMind

Brain Injury Awareness Campaign

Have you ever met an individual who immediately made an impression? Or maybe had a very brief conversation with someone who was difficult to listen to but at the same time intriguing? Last year, I had an encounter with a gentleman who within 3 minutes told me he was thankful and blessed to be alive and wrote a book about it. He told me the name of the book and that it was on Amazon. A couple of weeks later, I bought it and WOW am I glad! Have you ever wondered what life is like for someone with a traumatic brain injury?

I met Ryan during a biking event. Every Monday during the spring, summer, and fall our city sponsors a slow-roll bike ride. Most of the time there are over 1,000 people on their bicycles riding in various parts of our great city to mingle, learn some history about the area they ride in. You never know who you are going to meet during these rides because there are so many different people who attend and the crowds get larger every year! On one special occasion, I was very lucky to meet Ryan Young, the author of this book.

During our very brief encounter, I noticed Ryan was very slow to speak and repeated himself a little bit. I work with individuals with different disabilities, accents, etc. and it was still a little difficult for me to understand what he was saying. However, I was able to pinpoint the conversation – he wrote a book. I was intrigued.

The details: 

  • Read: Easy (large print)
  • Pages: 100 pages (including two short notes at the end from both Ryan’s Mom and Helper, Leo Ward)
  • Format: Paperback
  • Click the picture below for additional info!

I have said it before and I will say it again – I am not a fast reader, nor do I enjoy reading many things (I like to skim). This book was perfect for me!

The title is two-fold:

Thankful / Traumatic

Blessed / Brain

Individual / Injury

The Review

This is the story about a 5-year-old boy, who suffered a traumatic brain injury and everything that his life became afterward. Ryan overcame each and every obstacle put in front of him and continues to do so each and every day of his life (even in his 30’s). You will learn how his strong faith, love, the community, and his positivity all contribute to his survival and success. He is definitely a thankful and blessed individual. Ryan has become a celebrity of sorts, a poster child for spreading love and delivering his message ‘never stop believing in miracles’ daily through speaking engagements and everyday life.

This book is not only a great, quick read but teaches life lessons for anyone overcoming obstacles. For those suffering in life for any reason…bullying, medical situations, body image issues, stress, death of a friend or loved one, unemployed, etc. this book is a read that will make you think differently. It may even get you out of the negativity and thrust you into positivity. Reading this book definitely helped to change my mind. Why not read it and #ChangeYourMind?

Highly Recommend

I highly recommend this book. In fact, I gave it to my nephews (9 and 12 years old) to read because, in my opinion, it is a fabulous story and a great learning tool. When I was young, I was afraid of others who were different. Why? Most likely because I never understood what was wrong. Teachers didn’t explain how and why others were different – they were just put in a different classroom for disabled students. I believe this book will help others not only how to understand, talk to, and work with those who have disabilities but also help them with their own obstacles they may encounter in life. (And to maybe satisfy a reading requirement – this is a great life lesson book and most kids want to read out sports, action figures or cartoons)! If we all encourage positivity and love, we will all be thankful, blessed individuals no matter what obstacles are in our way!

Since this post was originally published, my soon-to-be 13-year-old nephew has read this book and we chatted about it recently. Here is his synopsis:

“Thankful Blessed Individual” is a book about Ryan Young. 5 year old at the time was hit by a truck being driven by a drunk driver on his neighborhood street. He flew out of his shoes and landed in the distance on the road. He suffered a traumatic brain injury and he got saved by just the perfect miracle.

My nephew Maxim 🙂

Some quotes in the book that caught my attention:

“Getting angry at someone with an injured brain for being slow, running late or forgetting an important thing, is like getting angry at someone with a broken leg for not running a marathon fast enough.”

Ryan Young

 “…he who is not courageous enough to take risks and believe in him/herself, will accomplish nothing in life.”

“To be rich is not what you have in your bank account, but what you have in your heart. It always makes me feel good when I’m able to help people.”

“There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.”

Ryan Young

March is Brain Injury Awareness Month

The Brain Injury Association of America created a public awareness campaign in 2018 to help raise awareness about brain injuries and the needs of people and families that live this them. To learn more, please watch the video below and join the #ChangeYourMind campaign!

Want to learn more about traumatic brain injuries specifically? Click here to learn about causes, symptoms, and treatments!


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  1. This sounds like a great book. I didn’t realize that March is Traumatic Brain Injury Awareness month. I have a friend who was in a bad car accident as a young adult and she has a TBI too. She has overcome a lot and now works with others who have a TBI.

  2. There was a teen in my neighborhood (when u was little) that got a TBI. His name was Fred. I’ve never forgotten him or the person he was after the accident.

  3. An amazing story and great review. I have a friend with a TBI and I’ve witnessed his struggles, yet he never gives up and is so encouraging. Thank you for sharing.

  4. What an inspiring story of a person who defied all odds.And I love the quotes. Right on! I met a few people at work with brain injury. It’s hard to imagine what they went through. All we need is empathy, compassion and support.

  5. I have a friend that graduated from Harvard in astrophysics. Brilliant but he had a brain injury and can not even go in the light now. So sad.

  6. I love this review! Ryan sounds like an amazing individual. My son suffered with cognitive difficulties after three concussions, and we found firsthand that brain injuries affect every part of life. Ryan seems to have done an amazing job at overcoming and making the best of his life.

    1. Brain injuries affect not only the individual but their families as well as others! We are connected through FB and I see him occasionally at bike rides. He is doing speaking engagements and walks and takes the bus everywhere! He has so many stories…truly an interesting individual and so grateful for life…his gift.

  7. I think I would love this book. I can’t get enough of stories of people who overcame hurdles and hardships. Absolutely love the two-fold title! Thank you for the great review.

  8. I love this story. My husband had a TBI from a concussion in a seemingly small car accident. We had no idea what was going on and he was hiding his symptoms from me. It was a bizarre experience and fortunately, he was sporadically healed during a church service. I remember getting frustrated with him for asking me the same question every day for months. It was kind of like Alzheimer’s but it wasn’t like it either. Anyway, it can look different in people. You never know what behaviors and things are going to pop up. The blessing is that we have a huge understanding of the condition now. We were able to help my son in law who suffered PTSD and TBI from child abuse. He is now getting the help he needs.

    1. Thank you for sharing your story Tricia! You are right, TBI looks different in everyone. I am so glad your son in law is getting the help he needs!

  9. I am so glad thatthere is more awareness for tramatic brain injuries. Often overlooked, the community doesn’t realize that this is an issue. My sister has a TBI from a pressure cooker exploding. It’s a struggle for her every day.

  10. “There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.” – I love this! What an incredible individual. Definitely makes my daily struggles seem a little less significant.

  11. “Getting angry at someone with an injured brain for being slow, running late or forgetting an important thing, is like getting angry at someone with a broken leg for not running a marathon fast enough … ” Reminds me of the quote “Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” Sounds like a wonderful person with an important message. I would love to read his book.

  12. What an inspiring story! Thanks for sharing Ryan’s compelling story to us. I’m touched.

    The quote “he who is not courageous enough to take risks and believe in him/herself, will accomplish nothing in life.” which is so true! We all could learn from him.

  13. What a wonderful encounter for you, and he has an awesome attitude that we all should have about life. Kudos to him for writing a book at such a young age–to step out and do something like that is a brave move for anyone. But he definitely has a story, and advice that can help all of us in some way.

  14. Ah, this looks like a great book. My son has ADHD and his siblings somethings do not have the patience that comes with that – this may be just the book to celebrate us all and know we all can dol

  15. This hits close to home for my family. My brother suffered a TBI at age 16, but he made slow-but-steady progress in the decade that followed.

    “Getting angry at someone with an injured brain for being slow, running late or forgetting an important thing, is like getting angry at someone with a broken leg for not running a marathon fast enough.”

    As an older TBI patient, my brother was constantly angry with HIMSELF for being slow, especially because he remembered that he was a good student and a great athlete before his car wreck.

    I’ll definitely read this book.

    1. I think this book may help a bit. It is looking at things so differently! I would hope that by reading, it can help anyone move forward in a more positive-thinking way and perhaps maybe open up new opportunities for some.

  16. I’m grateful for authors like this! It can become so easy to forget that a happy individual does not equate to a perfect life, especially when we just see “Insta-ready” pics and stories online. It truly helps to see people share their struggles and to discover that happiness has to be chosen over submitting to life’s obstacles! ❤

  17. Wow this book sounds like a tear jerker for me, how inspiring and yet bittersweet all at the same time. It makes me think about a little boy here in town Tripp Halstead that made nation news for a tree limb crashing down on him while at daycare, I imagine he will face similar obstacles in his future as well.

  18. I love this “…he who is not courageous enough to take risks and believe in him/herself, will accomplish nothing in life.”

    I can see myself reading this book in my patio sipping my coffee.

  19. I too have read this book and what an amazing person Ryan Young is! I would definitely recommend it. It made me look at life from a whole new perspective!

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